(DAMASCUS, Syria) — In yet another setback to the quest of finding a quick end to the conflict in Syria, Damascus is now casting aspersions on United Nations and Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi.
Ahead of Brahimi’s meeting Friday with U.S. and Russia officials in Geneva, Syria’s Foreign Ministry accused the veteran diplomat of being “flagrantly biased for those who are conspiring against Syria and its people.”
Damascus is apparently upset with Brahimi for dropping his broadest hint yet that a post-war Syria is not possible if President Bashar al-Assad remains at the helm.
The envoy’s predecessor, former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, quit in frustration last summer when he felt that negotiating with al-Assad was no longer an option — a scenario that might be developing again.
There remains a chance that Syria is merely posturing as Brahimi prepares to sit down with negotiators from Washington and Moscow although Russia has also made it clear that resolving the nearly two-year-long civil war does not necessarily come with the prerequisite that al-Assad leave power.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Paul Cruickshank and Michael Pearson, CNN